Cocktail Couture

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a really cool event. Cocktail Couture is an annual design competition sponsored by the IIDA (International Interior Designers Association), where area design professionals create outfits out of materials more often seen in corporate office buildings—wood, metal, carpet—than on a runway. The resulting avant-garde ensembles were showcased on the runway at The Garden Club of Jacksonville last week and they were pretty spectacular. Products assigned to teams included items such as: carpet materials, wall coverings, furniture, upholstery, tile, wood, solid surfaces, lighting, marketing materials, and more. Teams were required to utilize at least 85% of the manufacturer’s materials in the presentation.

The April 16 event was themed “An Organic Experience,” and even the runway backdrop utilized recycled materials—those oversized white flowers you’ll see in the background? Those are made out of architectural drawings.

All of the entries from the eleventh annual event will be showcased in the May issue of Jacksonville Magazine, so if you’re local to Jax—be on the lookout. Here are some iPhone pics from the show!

Major contouring action going on….

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Yup. That’s a bird’s nest in my hair! 

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Finishing touches…

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My awesome team! We won for “best representation of evil” and the dress was made out of cubicle panels and chair samples.

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Ensemble du Jour: Easter Best

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Rather than wear a traditional sundress, I chose to wear a pencil skirt and a loose top for Easter. Both the top and skirt are from Marshall’s (scored the Vince skirt on clearance for under #30 and it was originally $200!) and the booties are by Tibi (they add the perfect amount of edge to every feminine ensemble. I’ve been wearing my old Chanel temporary tattoos (a gift from my friend Alison) a lot lately. They are more than a year old, but they still apply so easily (and they make me look really tough, too).

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Skirt: Vince via Marshall’s // Top: Dolan via Marshall’s // Shoes: Tibi // Bracelet: Eddie Borgo // Temporary Tattoos: Chanel // Bag: Proenza Schouler (part of the Neiman’s for Target collection)

 

Wedding Season: What to Wear to a Spring Wedding (and how to stand out doing it)

Wedding trends may come and go, but Spring and Summer  weddings will always be popular (according to a survey conducted by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, June is the most popular month for weddings). If you’re like me, then the wedding invites and Facebook engagement notifications have already started piling up. There’s no doubt about it, weddings are fun—thanks in large part to the dancing, drinks and mingling—but getting dressed for a wedding? That can be tough.

Most women see weddings as a challenge: how do you dress your best without looking overdone? Even when couples announce attire suggestions in their invites, it often involves more than simply pulling out that one dress that matches the color motif… Just what exactly is “resort casual,” anyway?? And what should you wear to a wedding on the beach? Or not on the beach, for that matter?

Semi-formal
If the invitation doesn’t make any mention of the attire for the wedding, but it’s taking place during the afternoon, it’s a safe bet that the attire is “Semi-Formal,” and doesn’t require a ball gown. Take some inspiration from current trends. Many brides look towards the colors of spring and use them to create the themes of their weddings. Similarly,  you could also play on the colors of spring flowers to help you decide what to wear. Here’s a quick guide on spring flowers from M&S:

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And here’s how those gorgeous bouquets can translate into an ensemble…

Spring Semi-Formal Wedding

 

Formal Evening
If you’re heading to a black-tie affair, don’t just throw on a cocktail dress. A good rule to abide by: wear something that can compliment a tuxedo, but isn’t overly dramatic (rule number one when it comes to weddings: Don’t upstage the bride). A long evening gown with finer details usually does the trick. Pair it with simple heels, minimal jewelry and a nice throw or evening jacket (to ward off any evening chills).

 

Black Tie Wedding

Dressy Daytime
While laid-back spring weddings should be a piece of cake to dress for, dressier daytime weddings leave several people in a conundrum. Nina Callaway of the About.com network recommends looking towards the guests who attended the Royal Wedding for inspiration. In some cases, a nice hat can really take your outfit from casual to sophisticated. In other cases, hats just look out-of-place. Go for a cute dress, with dressy flats and a daytime clutch (one without any heavy beading or embroidery). Nix the heavy makeup in favor of a soft, pink lip and save the smokey eye for nighttime. And seriously, how cute is this clutch?

 

Daytime Wedding

 

Ensemble du Jour: Good Sport

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It’s no secret that I love the athletic trend, so I’m always looking for an excuse to bust out my leather sweats. On a recent trip to Orlando (more specifically, to The Pharmacy, the coolest speakeasy that’s hidden behind an elevator door), I paired them with a really cute referee-inspired top. Both the top and pants are from Marshall’s. In fact, the top and pants cost around $70 total—a far cry from what they’d typically retail for.

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Top: Splendid via Marshall’s // Pants: Vince via Marshall’s // Bag: vintage Chanel //earrings: vintage Chanel // Heels: Tibi // Lips: Nars Heat Wave

Ensemble du Jour: Punky Brewster

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This is my take on ’90s punk rock—made a bit more feminine thanks to a fitted and flared skirt by A.L.C (I love the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine). These Tibi booties are pretty much the best thing to happen to me in a while… scored them at the Tibi outlet in St. Simon’s. This vest is another recent score. Rag & Bone via Marshall’s. It’s shredded perfectly and adds just the perfect amount of edge to a feminine ensemble.

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Tee: LPD New York // Skirt: ALC // Flannel: Equipment // Vest: Rag & Bone via Marshall’s // Booties: Tibi // Bag: Vintage Chanel // Earrings: vintage Yves Saint Laurent

Ensemble du Jour: One Dress, Two Ways

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I spent last Saturday shopping for antiques  in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. Of course, I can’t visit a city without swinging by the nearest TJ Maxx, and I’m certainly glad I did. I’ve found that in smaller cities, the finds tend to be even better than in large cities—mostly because people aren’t necessarily looking for big-name brands or high fashion designers. (I once found a Pucci dress on clearance in a TJ Maxx outside of Orlando—pretty damaged, so I didn’t buy it, but it made me realize there are finds to be had in pretty much every TJ Maxx in the country.) It was at the TJ’s in Brunswick where I found this great Rag & Bone trench dress, on clearance for $39. I knew immediately that it would be perfect worn as a jacket—worn more casually with sandals or for meetings with heels.

Here, I’ve styled it both ways, in keeping with the “One Look, Three Ways” theme from my #Maxxinista photo shoot with TJ Maxx last year.

Look 1: Casual

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Dress: old from Urban Outfitters (I literally got this dress nine years ago, but any old black tank dress would work) // Sandals: Balenciaga (These puppies have stood the test of time—they were purchased at Jeffrey in Atlanta eight years ago) // Bag: vintage Chanel // Trench Dress: Rag & Bone via TJ Maxx // Necklace: vintage // Sunnies: Toms

Look 2: Work/Cocktail Attire

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Black dress (same as above, just tucked into a vintage black leather skirt) // Heels: Tibi // Clutch: Proenza Schouler for Target // Necklace: vintage

Breakfast: Clean Huevos Rancheros

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I am all for a hearty breakfast, but lately, I’ve been eating even “cleaner” than usual. Because of my job, I tend to go to a lot of events and restaurant openings, where I eat copious amounts of fried things, pastas and the like. So, when I’m at home, I veer in the opposite direction—very few carbs (and when I do eat them, I stick to whole grains), not much meat and only a little dairy. But I love huevos rancheros, which typically consists of a lot of bad for you” ingredients—a white flour tortilla, tons of cheese, some type of meat. This past weekend, I lightened my favorite brunch dish up a bit. A whole grain corn tortilla for my boyfriend (I actually had mine sans tortilla), egg whites mixed with eggs (egg yolks are extremely good for you, but carry a lot of extra calories), fresh tomato and lots of avocado. Altogether, it was a dish full of protein and healthy fats and provided the perfect fuel for a nearly four-mile walk later that morning (which my nine-year-old dog somehow managed to survive!)

Clean Huevos Rancheros
*serves two

6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
1/4 cup of cheese (a mix of cheddar and havarti)
2 tortillas
1 tomato
Salsa
Hot sauce
1 avocado
1 lime

1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into a small, non-stick skillet set over low heat.
2. Cook the eggs over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally when you notice the edges start to set. (This is, I believe, the secret to cooking great eggs—low and slow. It takes longer, but cooking eggs over a burner set over low-medium yields much creamier eggs than those cooked on a scalding hot stove.)
3. Sprinkle salt, pepper and pimentón over the eggs and stir it in.
4. When you notice the eggs start to firm up, sprinkle the cheese over and stir until it melts.
5. In a separate skillet, set over medium heat, add the tortilla and warm for about a minute per side.
6. Once the eggs and tortilla are ready, set it up as follows: tortilla, topped with the smoky egg and cheese mixture, topped with a sprinkle of tomatoes, avocado, salsa and a drizzle of hot sauce. A squirt of lime is never a bad idea, either. You can eat it open faced, with a knife and fork, or as a taco.

Ensemble du Jour: Serfboardt

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I’ve professed my love for Queen Bey before and I will absolutely admit to listening to her latest album on repeat since it came out on iTunes. Beyoncé is ambitious, determined and works hard for her money. I think she’s a great performer and incredibly talented, so it’s only natural that I show some love with my “Surfboard” sweatshirt. (If you’ve listened to Drunk In Love, you should get the reference.) I definitely get a lot of interesting looks (and a few high fives) when I wear this. I wore it this weekend with a printed skirt from The Webster, Nike sneaks and a vintage Chanel bag.

Nikes and a skirt

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Beyonce sweatshirt, skirt from The Webster

Sweatshirt: Beyonce // Skirt: // Sneakers: Nike // Bag: vintage Chanel // Sunnies: Prada

Ensemble du Jour: Baby Shower

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I went to a baby shower this past weekend for one of my co-workers. She’s having a little girl, so I settled on  pink as the color du jour. I’ve worn this Stella McCartney blazer so many times since I got it for Christmas (thanks, boyfriend!), which is kind of surprising, considering it’s not the most basic item. I love combining it with more basic pieces, since it makes such a strong statement. These Tibi Vans are the perfect counterpoint to the fancy blazer.

Stella McCartney blazer, Tibi slip ons

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Jacket: Stella McCartney // Dress: Joie (via Marshall’s-similar here) // Slip-ons: Tibi x Vans // Earrings: vintage // Bag: vintage Chanel (a recent gift from my amazing grandmother—and an estate sale find!-similar here) // Belt: Proenza Schouler // Sunglasses: Prada (a gift from my bestie, Brittany!)